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सेमिनार: अंग्रेज़ी सीखने का अवसर (23 सितंबर: दोपहर 3 बजे)
High-level Task Force for Indus Water Treaty
Dec 20, 2016

First meeting of newly formed high-level task force to look into the strategic aspects of Indus Water Treaty with Pakistan, is expected to be held in the next coming week to take stock of all projects other ongoing activities on the six rivers on the Indian side.

  • The Government recently issued the notification of task force on Indus Water Treaty under the chairmanship of Principal Secretary to Prime Minister Nripendra Mishra.
  • Other members of the task force are, National Security Advisor Ajit Doval, Foreign Secretary S. Jaishankar, Secretaries of ministries including  Environment, Power and Water Resource and Finance. 
  • The Task Force will also called Chief Secretaries of Jammu and Kashmir and Punjab, the states from where the six Indus system rivers flow as invitees to its meetings.
  • The task force is set up to reviews the 56-year-old water distribution agreement.
  • The all powerful task force will take decision on all important strategic and policy issue in connection with the treaty.

Meanwhile, the World Bank, which has paused two separate mechanisms, will expected to send an expert to discuss with both India and Pakistan their versions on designs of Kishenganga and Ratle projects being constructed by India in Jammu and Kashmir. 

The World Bank’s move came after Pakistan in September, flagged concerns with the World Bank that the design of the Kishenganga project was not in line with the criteria laid down under Indus Water Treaty, by demanding for a Court of Arbitration to look into the matter.

Indian has strongly denied Pakistan’s claims by asserting that the project design is "well within parameters" of the treaty and urged the World Bank to appoint a neutral expert as the issue is a "technical matter" as suggested in the treaty. World Bank is also a party to the treaty.

Pakistan will not accept any change 

  • Pakistan has firmly stated that it will not accept any alterations or changes to the Indus Waters Treaty.
  • Pakistan  said its position is based on the principles enshrined in the treaty.
  • Pakistan is raising its objection to building of the Kishanganga (330 megawatts) and Ratle (850 megawatts) hydroelectric plants by India saying that it violates the provisions of the treaty.
  • The World Bank had earlier asked both the countries to consider alternative ways to resolve their disagreements.
  • The World Bank had said that it was temporarily halting the appointment of a neutral expert as requested by India, and the Chairman of the Court of Arbitration, as requested by Pakistan, to resolve issues regarding two hydroelectric power plants under construction by India along the Indus Rivers system.

Indus Water Treaty (Key Highlights)

  • The Indus Waters Treaty was signed on September 19, 1960 by the then Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Pakistan's President Ayub Khan.
  • It was brokered by the World Bank.
  • The treaty administers how river Indus and its tributaries that flow in both the countries will be utilised.
  • According to the treaty, Beas, Ravi and Sutlej are to be governed by India, while, Indus, Chenab and Jhelum are to be taken care by Pakistan.
  • However, since Indus flows from India, the country is allowed to use 20 per cent of its water for irrigation, power generation and transport purposes.
  • A Permanent Indus Commission was set up as a bilateral commission to implement and manage the Treaty. The Commission solves disputes arising over water sharing.
  • The Treaty also provides arbitration mechanism to solve disputes amicably.
  • Though Indus originates from Tibet, China has been kept out of the Treaty. If China decides to stop or change the flow of the river, it will affect both India and Pakistan.
  • Climate change is causing melting of ice in Tibetan plateau, which scientists believe will affect the river in future.

It may be noted that both India and Pakistan are still at loggerheads over various issues since Partition, but there has been no fight over water after the Treaty was ratified.

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